Chapter 13 : The role of collaboration in South Africa’s growth.
We are African
“It often takes a major shock to force a society to confront challenges it has been either denying or underestimating. South Africans have been living in a false paradise that has ignored the realities of our interconnected and interdependent world. Our nascent democracy has often operated as if the migration of goods and services, ideas and people does not matter to us. Our apartheid isolation has made us insular. This crisis forces us to rise to our challenges and seize the opportunities of being part of a rapidly globalising world.” - Dr Mamphela Ramphele.
As South Africa reeled from the xenophobic violence that has rocked our country, one of the founders of the Black Consciousness Movement, mother to Steve Biko’s two children, first woman Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town and one of four Managing Directors of The World Bank made an impassioned plea.
Dr Mamphela Ramphele reminded us that we are Africans, and as Africans need to remember where we have come from, who we are, and how our future is intimately connected to all who share this continent with us. That realizing we are a collective, a continent, that we are African is vital to our common destiny.
This is a thought echoed by another great African, Professor Es’kia Mphahlele who said in 1985: “No Afrikan in their right mind can afford the luxury of prophesying doom for any segment of their society.”
Although the notion of an African Renaissance is something largely attributed to Thabo Mbeki, the concept was already mooted at the turn of the century, and described by ANC founder Pixley ka Izaka Seme when he spoke at Columbia University in the city of New York, in 1906. He said: “The brighter day is rising upon Africa...Yes the regeneration of Africa belongs to this new and powerful period. The African people...possess a common fundamental sentiment which is everywhere manifest, crystallizing itself into one common controlling idea...The regeneration of Africa means that a new and unique civilization is soon to be added to the world." At the time these words were spoken Africa still had to walk a treacherous path through the slavery of colonialism, wars of liberation, and the curse of poverty.
A pivotal time for Africa came in 1999 when African Heads of State and Government transformed The Organisation of African Unity into the African Union at a time when Africa was being increasingly marginalized from a globalizing world. The African Union unites the continent with a vision of an Africa that is prosperous, peaceful, driven by its own citizen and is an integrated and dynamic force in the global arena.
As a country that is safeguarded by a constitution that is one of the most progressive in the world, that has a robust multi-party political system, a strong economy, that has 47-million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs, we have so much to offer our continent and the rest of the world. But we can only participate in Africa if we are able to think and act as Africans.
As South Africans, whether we be business people, leaders, politicians, workers, philosophers, teachers, students, we cannot think of ourselves as isolated or apart from Africa. We desperately need to shake off old alienating attitudes and see ourselves as part of the whole. Connected to the main.
Our real success as a nation will be metered by our ability to transform the insular, alienating and apartheid-inspired thinking that sets us apart from everyone else who inhabits this continent. Progress will only happen when we understand that we are a part of, and responsible to, the world’s second biggest and most populous continent.
That we are as African as the mighty Zambezi, or as the lion’s roar across the plains of Kenya. As the gaze of the Great Sphinx at Giza, the city bustle of Abuja, the fragrance of a roasted Tanzanian coffee bean, the sound of Shangaan being spoken, the songs of Youssou N'Dour, the beauty of Rikki Wemega-Kwawu, the bravery of Herman Toivo ja Toivo, the murder of Ken Saro Wiwa, and the earliest evidence of homo sapiens found in Ethiopia.
Only as Africans can we collaborate, and grow ourselves by growing our continent.
1. The new South Africa - is it real?
2. Is SA rich or poor?
3. What the world thinks of South Africa and what our global opportunities are
4. The importance of each individual's contribution collectively
5. SA Inc and the business of doing business in SA
6. The beauty and grandeur that surrounds us
7. The importance of technology in SA's global emergence
8. Building brand South Africa
9. Making the most of SA's creative talents and abilities
10. Innovate for a better South Africa
11. The role of the younger generation in SA, and what we need to do to support them
12. Connecting South Africa - Communities that transcend technology
13. We are African - the role of collaboration in South Africa's growth